by Adrienne Carrington
Until you get a call at 6:00 from your uncle telling you and your mother that your grandmother is dead,
Don’t come to me.
Until you get dressed in 5 minutes, praying, crying, and on the highway, and halfway there you find out that she’s being moved to the hospital where the last two deceased members of your family died,
Don’t feel sorry for me.
Until you wait a combined total of 15 hours in the hospital, in two different waiting rooms, while your mother, uncle, aunts, cousins, great-aunts, and people you don’t know go in the ICU to watch your grandmother die.
Don’t try to comfort me.
Until you hear, “Code Blue, 4th floor, ICU Unit” echo throughout the entire Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital at 3:52 A.M.,
Don’t even think about coming to me.
Until your uncle somberly announces to the people in the waiting room that she died 5 minutes earlier at 4:00 A.M. for the last time,
Don’t call me.
Until you’re finally allowed to see your grandmother, lying on a table, eyes closed as if she were about to wake up, skin smooth yet cold as ice and kiss her on her cheek, knowing if you press her, she’ll start to bleed profusely,
Don’t feel sympathetic or empathetic towards me.
Because I’ll never be able to hold my granny again, or kiss her on her cheek, or make her coffee, or give her nectarines and salt, or lug oxygen tanks around, or try on her wigs and play dress-up in her closet, or massage her feet, or paint her toenails, or hold her hands, or learn life lessons, or read her books, or hear her sing, or have a strawberry shortcake snow cone across the railroad tracks, or ever see my love, my idol, my granny ever again.
Until you have to go with your mother and god-aunt to your grandmother’s job to take her belongings, and policies,
Don’t follow me
Until you have to lie in bed with your mother, your hero and idol, and have to hear your superwoman break down completely for two hours, scream and cry and wail and yell that “She can’t do it”, “She gives up”, “Why Jesus? She was only 60, it wasn’t her time”, and most of all, “I want my moma,”
Don’t you dare apologize or try to make amends with me.
Until you’ve gone through what I’ve gone through,
Don’t come to me and tell me that you know what I’m going through, because you don’t.
You never will.